After winning a hotly disputed pipe leak case in Bryan in May, the Brasher Law Firm was in trial again the week after Thanksgiving for another Texas homeowner. This time, it was against State Farm in Amarillo. On May 28, 2013, a hail and wind storm struck Amarillo. The storm caused over $400 million dollars in property damage, according to the Insurance Journal. One of the homes that was hit was the home of Robert and Rebecca MacKeen. The storm damaged their cedar-shingled roof and blew the roof and a wall off a 61′ long metal building.
The MacKeens did what people do when they have storm damage – they filed a claim with their insurance company, State Farm Lloyds. They had been insured with State Farm for two years. When they applied to get State Farm insurance, State Farm inspected the property, specifically the roofs, and found no hail damage or wind damage. State Farm accepted the application and issued a policy of insurance.
But State Farm changed its tune when it received the claim for damage. Even though it was aware of the severity of the storm, with hail as big as 1.5″ at the MacKeen home, and gusts of winds up to 71 mph, State Farm determined that the cedar-shingled roof had prior damage and was worn out.
No Resolution In Sight
The MacKeens did everything they could do to work with State Farm. They were asked to supply a content list – they did. They were asked to provide a roofing estimate since State Farm did not think the roof was damaged – they did. By early October 2013, State Farm had all of this information. State Farm then sent another adjuster to the home. He spent 5 minutes on the roof before getting into a disagreement with the roofer and leaving. Then State Farm closed the file with no payment. One thing Clint Brasher noted: “It was interesting that after the adjuster left, and recommended closing the claim, Mr. MacKeen had already called State Farm to ask for help. State Farm said they ‘may’ call him back. They never did.”
From May 30, 2013, through October 31, 2013, more then 20 different adjusters were assigned some part of the MacKeen claim. It was open and closed five times. But no money was paid.
Brasher Law Firm Acts As Lead Council
The MacKeens hired counsel and filed suit in Potter County. It was fiercely contested by State Farm. In litigation, State Farm hired an engineer and a roofer to contradict the one the MacKeens had used. In 2015, the firm the MacKeens hired brought Brasher Law Firm in to act as lead counsel. Clint Brasher and his firm specialize in these suits and has returned successful verdicts and settlements this year from Oklahoma City down to Eagle Pass, Texas. The Brasher Law Firm acts as lead trial counsel in these matters.
The first trial setting was January 2016. State Farm decided to pay the content claim and reimburse the MacKeens for an electrical repair they made at that time – two and one half years late. The trial was moved to June then moved again to November 28, 2016. Trial commenced and, after a weeklong trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the MacKeens.
Details of the Verdict
The evidence of breach of contract was overwhelming and the Court instructed a verdict that State Farm breached the contract with the MacKeens. The jury then determined that the damages to the property was $55,000. The jury also found that State Farm committed bad faith by violating provisions of the Texas Insurance Code, including failing to pay a claim when liability was “reasonably clear” and “failing to conduct a reasonable investigation.” The jury held that State Farm committed the bad faith knowingly and awarded another $50,000 in additional damages. For attorney fees, State Farm argued this case was all about the attorneys and suggested it was a fraudulent claim. State Farm asked the jury to award zero damages. The jury rejected that proposal and awarded trial fees of $220,000 plus appellate fees (contingent on the appeal happening and success by MacKeens) of $175,000.
Lead counsel Clint Brasher said: “The reason the fees were so high was the enormous amount of work State Farm required the plaintiffs to do to get to Court. State Farm resisted and fought the claim every step of the way, even after they accepted coverage for the claim.”
Justice For The Homeowners
Mr. MacKeen said this about the trial: “After three years of fighting with them, we finally have an ending, and I couldn’t be happier that we had a great legal team to help us along the way. It’s been a long hard fight, but it’s finally over, and we persevered.”
The team is pictured here from Left-Right: Nishi Kothari with Arguello Hope & Associates, Robert MacKeen, Rebecca MacKeen, Clint Brasher, and Joe Lovell who is handling an appellate issues and assisted with the trial the entire week.
Contact Brasher Law Firm Today!
When an insurance company fails to meet its obligations under the law, you may need help to get the right outcome. Our team of Texas Bad Faith Attorneys know the law and can help you fight for the full compensation you deserve. We have successfully helped our clients recover millions of dollars and are ready to provide the aggressive and passionate representation you need.